The AFL has granted Richmond’s Marlion Pickett an exemption to take part in the pre-match ceremony planned ahead of the Dreamtime at the ‘G game on Saturday night.
The league’s exemption was necessary after Pickett was suspended for one week after laying a bump on Hawthorn’s Dylan Moore in round nine, as players serving suspensions are normally barred from entering the arena.
The decision will allow Pickett to join his Richmond teammates on the ground when the annual War Cry team occurs before the match, which is a feature of Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
In granting the exemption to Pickett, the league decided to allow all non-selected Indigenous players from both Richmond and Essendon to be in the rooms and on the ground pre-game with their teammates in a departure from current practice.
Pickett had played a key part in the lead-up to the game, joining his partner Jessica Nannup to design the Tigers’ Indigenous jumper that will be worn in the match, while Essendon’s Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who has not played a game in 2022 , designed the Bombers’ jumper.
Pickett, a Noongar man, spoke with pride last week about the jumper that referenced teammates, the Tiger Army, football club staff, the journey the family made from Perth to Punt Road, and Pickett’s totem, The Karaak, a red-tailed black cockatoo , which is endemic to Noongar land.
“All credit to her, she [Jessica] put it all together, and it came up really nice, ”Pickett said.
The dual premiership Tiger was disappointed to miss the match after the tribunal upheld on Tuesday night the MRO’s decision to suspend him.